Took the Mini-Cooper on an unusual road trip this week.
Taking roads less traveled, we made our way from Paso Robles to Yerington, NV. It was one spectacular trip through the majestic Sierras and into a little seen part of Lyon County. If you look at a map, the "most direct" (and I use that term loosely) takes you by Lake Isabella, the Kern River and through the Sequoia National Forest.
That road is paved, sort of. It's switchbacks up to "Sherman's Pass" at 9,200 feet and switchbacks down. The traffic is almost non-existent. You pass through gorgeous, lush landscape then suddenly you are in burned-out areas in various state of come-back after fires during the last 50 years.
Eventually, you find yourself on U.S. 395, skirting along the eastern side of the Sierras. Sites include Bishop, Ca., June Lake, Mammoth Lake and the eerie looking Mono Lake.
From this point, you can turn left and take the "back" entrance to Yosemite National Park or turn right and take a jaunt to Hawthorne, NV, and Walker Lake.
But this trip we continued on U.S. 395. At the town of Bridgeport, Ca., we took California State Route 182. When it crosses the state line into Nevada it turns into Nevada State Route 338, following the East Walker River through a beautiful part of Nevada that not many Nevadans have reason to visit.
This is a great drive. It takes you through some beautiful ranch land, eventually ending up in the green valleys of Smith Valley and Mason Valley.
This leg of the trip concluded in Yerington, a cool little Nevada town worthy of a visit by all Nevadans.
PS -- You may ask why did this trip started in Paso Robles? Wine drinkers know that Napa is still the No. 1 region for California wine. But a growing number of people are thinking Paso Robles. My favorite Paso winery (and I have not tried them all) is L'Aventura.
PPS -- Start at daybreak.